(often initial capital letter) any of the military expeditions undertaken by the Christians of Europe in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries for the recovery of the Holy Land from the Muslims.
any war carried on under papal sanction.
any vigorous, aggressive movement for the defense or advancement of an idea, cause, etc.: a crusade against child abuse.

verb (used without object), cru·sad·ed, cru·sad·ing.

to go on or engage in a crusade.

Origin of crusade

1570–80; earlier crusada < Spanish cruzada; replacing croisade < Middle French. See cross, -ade1
Related formscru·sad·er, nounnon·cru·sad·ing, adjectivepost-Cru·sade, adjectivepre-Cru·sade, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for crusaders

agitator, zealot, campaigner, radical, champion, progressive

Examples from the Web for crusaders

Contemporary Examples of crusaders

  • Even though we cast ourselves as martyrs, we might be crusaders.

  • In a Christian landscape with so many diverse options, Pawlenty has eschewed the crusaders in favor of the consensus-builder.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Pawlenty’s Pastor Problem

    McKay Coppins

    July 12, 2011

  • The marathon-length address embraced by crusaders and cranks alike—and knew no partisan bounds.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Senate Stonewallers

    Benjamin Sarlin, Samuel P. Jacobs

    November 9, 2009

  • He also warned that the “apostates” in countries like Saudi Arabia who cooperate with the “Crusaders” would be sent to hell.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Al Qaeda's New Murder Plot

    Bruce Riedel

    August 28, 2009

  • They may take the moral high ground while telling others how to live, but they are not the crusaders that Spitzer was.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why Obama Should Hire Eliot Spitzer

    Justin Frank

    April 6, 2009

Historical Examples of crusaders

  • They are said to have been brought into Europe by the Crusaders.

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 2

    Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences

  • Crusaders of old endeavored to overthrow evil by “force and arms.”

    Almost A Man

    Mary Wood-Allen

  • Such, according to Tasso, was the spirit of the Swiss Crusaders.

    The Counts of Gruyre

    Mrs. Reginald de Koven

  • After a sad farewell Ludwig rides away at the head of his Crusaders.

    The Standard Oratorios

    George P. Upton

  • The Crusaders admitted the Hungarian chiefs to their camps and fraternized with them.

    Peter the Hermit

    Daniel A. Goodsell

British Dictionary definitions for crusaders



(often capital) any of the military expeditions undertaken in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries by the Christian powers of Europe to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims
(formerly) any holy war undertaken on behalf of a religious cause
a vigorous and dedicated action or movement in favour of a cause

verb (intr)

to campaign vigorously for something
to go on a crusade
Derived Formscrusader, noun

Word Origin for crusade

C16: from earlier croisade, from Old French crois cross, from Latin crux; influenced also by Spanish cruzada, from cruzar to take up the cross
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for crusaders



1706, respelling of croisade (1570s), from Middle French croisade (16c.), Spanish cruzada, both from Medieval Latin cruciata, past participle of cruciare "to mark with a cross," from Latin crux (genitive crucis) "cross." Other Middle English forms were croiserie, creiserie. Figurative sense of "campaign against a public evil" is from 1786.



1732, from crusade (n.). Related: Crusaded; crusading.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper